The architecture of

Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Click on photos to enlarge.
Notes in italics from Oxfordshire by Jennifer Sherwood and Nikolaus Pevsner (1974)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

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At Corpus everything is on the small side; that is what makes it so lovable. Front Quad, the quad begun even before Bishop Fox of Winchester had founded the college in 1517, is nice and intimate, and the ranges are not high, and Fellows' Quad is just a cloistered strip in front of a building. ...

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The facade to Merton Street is of three storeys, it is true, but the third is a heightening of 1737, and so the gate tower seems small again. ... the facade has the usual rhythm of two-light and one-light windows. However, one window is much bigger. It looks ecclesiastical but belongs to the hall.

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The vault in the archway is of 1817.

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The Front Quad is of two storeys, with battlements added in 1625. ... In the S range of Front Quad is the library (facing the gateway, second picture). The stepped-up mid-piece ... is of 1817 too.
The Hall lies in the E range. One can just recognise it by the difference in fenestration. But the windows are small again. Their tracery, removed c.1700, was replaced in 1857 by Charles Buckler. ...

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In the middle of the quad is the famous sundial, with the college's pelican on top. ... The date is 1581, but there were later alterations, some of the C17. ...

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The doorway in the south east corner leads into a passage past the entrance to the chapel and on to Fellows' Quad. The chapel dates from the foundation years and has three-light windows, not very large. ... The panelled roof is of 1843, but old materials were used. The carpenter in the chapel was Arthur Frogley, the carver Jonathan Mayne. ... Stall and reredos are probably of c.1677 - But is the screen also of c.1677 or is it of 1701-5, designed by Townesend? It is relatively modest, but has detached columns and a big segmental pediment and the spandrels of the doorway in open-work. ...

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The altar painting is of the school of Rubens. ... The showy E window is by Henry A. Payne, 1931. ... John Reynolds, died 1607. Demi-figure in a niche.

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Fellows' Quad. This is the smallest of Oxford quads, a narrow rectangle with the cloister to the N and Fellows' Building to the S. Both were built in 1706-12 (replacing an early C16 cloister and chambers), and we don't know who designed them. Townesend has again been put forward; so has Dean Aldrich. The cloister has a very squared exterior, English Baroque in mood, and a plaster vault with occasional stucco decoration. It turns S at both ends to connect with Fellows' Building.

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More views of cloister

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John Ruskin memorial in the cloister

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Fellows' Building. This is a serious building, nine bays long and three storeys high, with three doorways on the N side,and on the S side, facing towards Merton Field ... a more conventional eleven-bay composition with a three-bay pediment on giant Ionic pilasters and straight entablatures for the first-floor windows. To the W (towards Garden Quad) are four bays, all blank, including arched niches on the first floor. ...

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View towards Merton Field from south side of Fellows' Building

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In Garden Quad, south side of the library, i.e. south range of Front Quad. On the west a Gothic style building of c.1905.  

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East side of Corpus Christi, on footpath between Corpus and Merton. Going north, Fellows' Building followed by east side of the cloister - the E view of the cloister incidentally is a puzzle, seven bays, with the middle window pedimented on brackets, not at all the mood of the cloister. It is in fact of 1928-9 by T.H. Hughes. In this range is the Senior Common Room ... Then Gentlemen Commoners' Building, 1737 - On the E side ... smooth, of six bays, just with two projecting chimneys. Then up to the Merton Street corner ...

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Thomas Building. It is of 1927-9 by T.H. Hughes and looks 1900. On the opposite side of Merton Street Corpus put up a four-bay building in 1884-5. Architect T.G. Jackson, as the overcrowding of decoration, the bay-windows, the sudden two aedicules show, i.e. the apparatus as well as the handling.

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